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Huperzine A: Potential Therapeutic Agent for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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By Bai DL, Tang XC, He XC • • March 16, 2000

SUMMARY: Huperzine A has a swift positive impact upon the brain in animal studies. Huperzine A is a powerful inhibitor (meaning it represses the action) of acetylcholine, a major neurotransmittor, a substance that transmits nerve impulses across the synapse (or gap) in order to stimulate a skeletal muscle. This action allows for more control of the free spontaneous nerve activity which results in a longer duration of action and higher therapeutic index (or measure). Animal and clinical trial findings show it exhibits memory-boosting activity. Huperzine A has been proven to have a powerful and lasting effect on the brain while keeping side effects to a minimum. In addition, recent news reports Huperzine A can lower neuronal cell death attributed to glutamate. The multiple benefits of Huperzine A (and minimal side-effects) make it a promising Alzheimer’s treatment.

ABSTRACT: HupA is a potent, reversible and selective inhibitor of AChE with a rapid absorption and penetration into the brain in animal tests. It exhibits memory-enhancing activities in animal and clinical trials. Compared to tacrine and donepezil, HupA possesses a longer duration of action and higher therapeutic index, and the peripheral cholinergic side effects are minimal at therapeutic doses. This review article deals with a comprehensive survey of the progress in chemical and pharmacological studies of HupA including the isolation and structure elucidation, pharmacological actions, total synthesis, SAR studies and the future development of HupA. Recently, it has been reported that HupA could reduce neuronal cell death caused by glutamate. The dual bio-activities of HupA would further enhance its value and potentiality as the therapeutic agent for Alzheimers disease.

Source Curr Med Chem 2000 Mar;7(3):355-74
Merriam Webster’s Medical Desk Dictionary. Merriam-Webter, Inc. Publishers.

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